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Thinking about Medieval Murals

26th October 2023 @ 6:15 pm 7:15 pm

October Forum: What Do We Mean by Context? Thinking about Medieval Murals

Free

What can surviving murals tell us about their original contexts? What are the limits of our powers of interpretation and reconstruction?

Image: Surviving lower half of the Refectory Mural in the Charterhouse, Coventry. Much of the mural is missing and part has been painted over with a coast of arms.  You can see Christ's feet nailed to the cross, two men in armour and a women with a halo presumably Mary, mother of Christ.

Image: Surviving lower half of the Refectory Mural in the Charterhouse, Coventry: photo R. Stevenson

About the October Forum

Presented by Dr Miriam Gill

Murals were the most common form of internal decoration in medieval buildings. They were once
ubiquitous in religious and secular or domestic settings. As wall art they bound to their physical
context and subject to changes in fashion, architecture and use. They are also an element of design
which endures when fixtures, fittings and furniture are long gone.

Wall paintings also have a broader context. They are a surviving element of complex historic culture.
They can be understood in relation to the ideology, beliefs and social structures of the Middle Ages.
This Vaughan Open Research Forum is a conversation with examples about how these questions of
physical and cultural context emerge in the study of wall painting. It is a chance to think about what
surviving murals tell us about their original context and the different contexts they can relate to and
the limits of our powers of interpretation and reconstruction.

This session will an online forum and will run from 6.15 pm – 7:15 pm. A link to the Zoom session will be sent on the day to people who have registered via Eventbrite using the form below.

About the Presenter

Miriam’s doctoral thesis was on the ‘Content and Context of Late Medieval Wall Painting’. She is interested in both the stylistic and iconographic development of late medieval wall paintings and the roles which they served in medieval interiors, imitating more prestigious types of media, such as textiles and also indicating the presence of important elements (such as devotional statues and altars). With Dr Ellie Pridgeon, she has been writing about the Three Living and the Three Dead, a subject from elite vernacular poetry which became prominent in parish wall painting. In the last few months she’s spoken on the sources of the late medieval Wall Paintings in the Guild Chapel at Stratford-upon-Avon, the complex painted interior of the grand parish church of Brisley and the extraordinary refectory mural of the Charterhouse, Coventry. Miriam is also Leicester Vaughan College’s company secretary.

About the Vaughan Open Research Forum

The Vaughan Open Research Forum is a series of talks, workshops and interactive sessions which are open to anyone who is curious and wants to find out more.

Themes for sessions relate to our core teaching topics, arts, humanities, social sciences and counselling, and also discuss adult education and co-operative issues.

Register for this Event

Thinking about Medieval Murals

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